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 > San Juan Extreme Truck Camper Adventure

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SheepCamp

SW Colorado

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Posted: 11/05/10 06:19pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

My wife always wonders what’s up when I ask her if I can go outside and play with the “boys” and this time was no different. A mid summer phone call started the planning for a high country camping trip. My wife’s vision of 4 days of peace and quiet at home showed on her face as I planned for my adventure.

In mid September, I arrive home one evening to find the Whazoo parked in the driveway. After a little food and sleep we take off on a pre-adventure hike to the Old Hundred Boarding House. Click here for that story
After our little hike we take a shortcut over Ophir Pass to the Sunshine Campground to meet up with Jefe4x4, the third member of the adventure.
[image]

With the crew gathered around dinner, the details of our camping trip were finalized. The purpose was to travel as many of the San Juan Mountain Passes as we could and camp as high as possible. Pretty simple plan except instead of jeeps, the vehicles were our full sized trucks and campers and most of the trip was above 11,000 feet!

So sit back and ride along as Sheep Camp, Whazoo, and Jefe4x4 as we take you along on our San Juan Extreme Truck Camper Adventure.

After stopping in Telluride for fuel supplies, we start off on the trail to Imogene Pass.

Just a few hundred yards into the trip, we remember we needed to sacrifice a tire to the Trail Gods to guarantee a safe trip. As soon as we slit open the tire we realized we were now short one tire and quickly scrambled to patch the inch long slice. Luckily Jefe had a week’s supply of Slim Jim beef jerky sticks that we quickly shoved into the hole. If you have every eaten one, you know they are pretty tough stuff. So after using most of his stash, off we go with our plugged tire rolling along on the left front of Whazoo’s truck. Those sticks sure worked well and held air for the rest of the day until we hit the pavement later that afternoon and figured it was a good time to put the spare on. (This type of field patch is common in 4x4 offroading).
[image]

The trail up Imogene starts off by getting your attention with its little shelf section followed by a tunnel.
[image]

[image]

On up the trail we come to the Tomboy basin and the remains of the Tomboy mine.
[image]

We were able to find one of the flatter spots to park as we enjoyed the area.
[image]

From the Tomboy mine, the road starts to get narrower and steeper. Two out of three ain’t too bad !!
[image]

Headed up to the top of Imogene pass. Trail is in the background.
[image]

Important rule in offroading, always make sure your partner is in your rear view mirror (hate it when I look back and they’re GONE!!!). Also, you do not want to back up to go find them if they are in trouble.
[image]

Imogene Pass, 13,114, second highest pass in Colorado
[image]

A view from the top.
[image]

As they say, what goes up, must come down. (Did I hear something shift in the camper?)
[image]

Small Medium and Large
[image]

After we came down to Ouray, it was time to go back up Red Mountain Pass (11,075 ft) and then up to camp on Black Bear Pass (12,840 ft).
[image]

It was a little windy (30 mph) on the pass so we went down behind the first ridge for a hearty meal of homemade chili and fresh cornbread. Slept tight that night.
[image]

Do you think that Whazoo's truck must have a leak by the size of the puddle under it.
[image]

Day 2: Silverton and Hurricane Pass.

After a hearty breakfast, we wondered down to Silverton for some sightseeing. Do not miss the San Juan Historical Museum next to the Courthouse on the north end of town. It is extremely well done and worth an hour or two of your time.

Then up Cement Creek and Hurricane Pass for a nice camp and relaxing.
[image]

Dinner of lamb kabobs, corn on the cob and blue margarita’s at 12,400 ft. It is cold at night so Jefe keeps his antifreeze close at hand.
[image]

(Note to self: Propane does not get very hot at 12,000 ft). Must have something to do with the lack of oxygen. Oh well, more time to enjoy the scenery and friends as dinner cooked.
[image]

Day 3 Hurricane Pass to Engineer Pass
Hurricane Pass at 12,407.
[image]

Como Lake and the upper end of Poughkeepsie Gulch.
[image]

Next stop, California Pass, you can see the ocean in the distance if you look real hard
[image]

Steam boiler sitting at 12,000 ft. It is amazing what they did with only sweat and determination.
[image]

Round and round we go into California Gulch and then Placer Gulch. Not all of the trails were friendly.
[image]

The Mill for the Sound Democrat Mine is quite a structure with most of the equipment still inside. The Mill is on BLM property and has been stabilized and re-roofed. Stamp mills and float tables are still where they were 100 years ago. Cables to the left are from the tram system that brought the ore down from the mine.
[image]

Jaw crusher that broke the rocks down to ping pong ball size. Sheep Camp and Jefe4x4 wonder if they could turn the wheel?
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Stamp mill further smashed it down to sand size or smaller for float tables to skim off the gold
[image]

The pass between Placer and Picayne Gulch at 12,666 ft.
[image]

Quick stop at Animas Forks and then on to Engineer pass and dinner.
[image]

Sure hope the tie downs hold.
[image]

It got a little exciting when we met two jeeps headed down just a little further up the trail
[image]

Engineer Pass, 12,800 ft.
[image]

From Engineer Pass, we backtracked about a ¼ mile to Ah Point at 12, 968 ft for a special camp.

Jefe made a special dinner of Carne Assada after a few adult beverages.
[image]

Camping at the top of the world, Ah Point, 12,968 ft
[image]

[image]

After a special trip, we were blessed with a special sunset to complete our San Juan Extreme Truck Camper Adventure.
[image]

As morning broke, we said our goodbye’s and returned to our own worlds in the lowlands.
Hope you enjoyed our adventure as much as we did.

Below is a list of passes traveled and our camping spots

Passes traveled
Ophir Pass 11,789
Imogene Pass 13,114
Red Mt Pass 11,075
Black Bear Pass 12,840
Hurricane Pass 12,407
California Pass 12,930
Placer/Picayne Pass 12,666
Engineer Pass 12,800

Camping Spots
Black Bear Pass 12,840
Hurricane Pass 12,407
Ah Point, Engineer Pass 12,968

A little note: The three members of this adventure are all highly experienced offroaders with extensive 4x4 experiences who have traveled these trails in jeeps previously. We worked as a team to assure our safety. The trails we ran are steep and dangerous and should only be traveled by highly experienced drivers and very capable vehicles. These mountains are not very forgiving!!


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billtex

RI

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Posted: 11/05/10 07:28pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Awesome!
You Guys make me jealous...I'll catch up w/you someday.

Tx for sharing,
Bill


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brirene

midwest

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Posted: 11/05/10 08:20pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Great report! Must have been a great trip...thanks for sharing.


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daveshan

Durango Colrado

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Posted: 11/05/10 09:13pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Looks like fun Doug, next time we're over in Buena Vista we need to take the 845s and camp up at Iron Chest ;-)


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Camper_Jeff_&_Kelli

Seattle

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Posted: 11/05/10 09:28pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

It's still cool.


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sleepy

Oak Ridge,Tennessee

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Posted: 11/05/10 09:47pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sheepcamp, after this trip you can sell your 2 jeeps...

Thanks for the report... i sure enjoyed it.

sleepy


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4dimnzn

Annapolis, MD

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Posted: 11/05/10 09:54pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

You guys rock! I was there a few years ago and they had just had a fatality as an East Coast off roader got out of his league on Black Bear Pass. This information kept me from attempting it as I figured I was his league...


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whazoo

Idahome

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Posted: 11/05/10 10:30pm Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Well at least I get to visit that trip again here without the issues of another flat. Well done Doug, very well done. Thanks for taking the time to do it up right. My favorite picture is the one you took of the 3 of us on the switch backs, wall-worthy in my mind. See you next time Amigo. And maybe we can drag Bill along, I think he's ready for a "western" type adventure.

tuna fisher

joshua tree ,ca.

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Posted: 11/06/10 05:35am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

1 Question!!! How do you keep your stuff in the camper secure??? Do you just let it roll around and straighten it up later? Make that 2 questions!! Really cool report&pic's,thanks


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silversand

Montreal

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Posted: 11/06/10 05:56am Link  |  Print  |  Notify Moderator

Sheep:

We enjoy all your productions! It's nice to see the Whaz in numerous expeditions!!

Cheers,
Silver-


Silver
2004 Chevy Silverado 2500HD 4x4 6.0L Ext/LB Tow Package 4L80E Michelin AT2s| Outfitter Caribou

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